By Thomas Kaser Advertiser Staff Writer
HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the city Department of Parks and Recreation must obtain a use permit before it tears down any buildings at Camp Kailua.
City attorneys had argued that the permit wasn’t necessary.
The city bought Camp Kailua from the Methodist church in 1984 as part of a plan to expand adjacent Kailua Beach park into an “ocean recreation center.”
Because the entire expanded park is within a coastal zone management area, the city asked the city Department of Land Utilization, whether a Special Management Area use permit was required before the demolition. In 1991, Acting Land Utilization Director Loretta Chee said no, because the planned demolition was not “development.”
The environmental group Hawaii’s Thousand Friends promptly appealed to state Circuit Court, which ruled against the city.
The city appealed but was rebuffed yesterday’s ruling, which said the project would affect so man parkgoers that “the DLU could not reasonably have determined that such a plan ‘will not have a significant ecological or environmental impact’ on the special management area.”
Attorney Cynthia Thielen and Thomas Grande represented Hawaii’s Thousand Friends.